Thursday, August 23, 2012

Confessions of an Elitist Food Snob-Or-Organic Finds At Grocery Outlet

Ok, I admit it.  I am an elitist real food snob.  Well, some might call me that, but in reality I don't have nearly enough energy or budget to deserve the title.  Nor do I want to be one.  With all the over-abundance of information I've encountered in my quest to feed my family healthily, there have been times I've teetered on the edge of insanity with all the "supposed tos".  Soaking, sprouting, fermenting, simmering, dehydrating, chopping, foraging, raw, pastured, organic, local.... One can either pay top dollar for the perfect diet of the moment, or spend every waking moment creating everything from scratch ala Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Can you say nervous breakdown?

To keep me from the brink of insanity this thought helps a lot:  I think a reasonable level of health and well-being is available to all income levels.  To sum up, God is not partial.   Don't get me wrong, I am not glamorizing poverty or dismissing the advantages of sufficient income.

But I strongly feel that the basics are within the reach of us all.  Sunshine, exercise, water, simple food, enough rest, a balanced outlook and cleanliness.  These elements are truly within the reach of everyone living in the U.S. no matter how bad the economy may be.

And I have a strong hunch that what we need is usually right on our doorstep, whether we live in Africa or Alameda.  For example, have you ever noticed that clover filled grass patches attract lots of bees?  Prime bee sting opportunity for little bare toes.  Now, have you ever noticed plantain weeds growing in those same areas?  Prime herbal medicine for all things stingy.

But I digress from my title....doorstep availability was leading to this: At my husband's urging I finally went into Grocery Outlet.  The reason I had not entered before is due to the aforementioned snobbery.  I am humbled.

At checkout, the clerk announced I had saved $40 by shopping with them instead of another store.  Close to tears I had to admit she was right.  Here are just two things I was excited by in my haul:

Coconut oil $4.99 ($1 cheaper than TJ's)
Organic Thompson Raisins (don't remember exact price, but cheaper than TJ's)

I am now a happy convert to Grocery Outlet...and in a small way my theory is proved to me yet again.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Aquarium of the Bay Via Discover and Go Pass

Couldn't have asked for a more beautiful San Francisco day, but have to give Aquarium of the Bay only a C-!  Was so ready to like it, too.  Yelp was right yet again, but we didn't complain too much since our Discover and Go passes from the Contra Costa County library got us in free.

  • Plenty of sensory and intellectual stimuli to occupy an almost 3-year old (underwater tunnels, schooling anchovies, pulsating jelly fish, docent-led activities, a Nemo tank, touchable starfish).
  • Can view the whole thing in less than two hours.
  • Breathtaking Bay views (Alcatraz, Golden Gate Bridge, et al.)
  • Free street parking and free admission with the Discover and Go pass.
Starfish lunch of shrimp


  • The same stimuli enjoyed by my pre-schooler fell flat for me since I've seen it done better at every other aquarium on the West Coast.  Seems like SF could do better.
  • Parking!!  Perhaps this was our timing (Saturday afternoon in mid-August), but the closest parking garage was full and traffic made searching a few-block radius for free street parking seem like the 2-hour trip to Monterey for a much better aquarium might actually be worth considering....
  • Cramped, claustrophobic, kinda shabby, elevators to each floor.
Bottom line:
We both agreed the admission price was not worth what we experienced today.  Even with a free pass, the distance, toll bridge and time spent was only off-set by the scenery outside the aquarium.

We have much more fun with our Lindsey Wildlife Museum membership and the free admission we get to Oakland Zoo with it!  And our Discover and Go scored a hit when we went to Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley last month.